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The field construction business is booming

I don’t have a ton of investments. Whatever is in the mysterious hedge fund my 401k money goes to every couple of weeks is about it. If I had some spare dollars to risk, however, it might be worth looking into companies that build athletic fields in Vicksburg because we sure do seem to have an appetite for them.

There are more than 25 active baseball and softball fields scattered around Warren County. The long-awaited sports complex, Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, opened this spring and accounts for about a third of that number. It opened just in time. Nearly every other facility in the county is undergoing some sort of facelift.

Halls Ferry Park was transformed from a home for youth baseball to the home of the Vicksburg Girls Softball Association. Seven fields there underwent some minor renovations to achieve the conversion.

Vicksburg High’s on-campus Showers Field is currently a furrowed plot of bulldozer tracks as it’s changed over from a baseball practice field to a game-ready one. VHS’ Softball Swamp and Warren Central’s softball and baseball fields will also be renovated as part of the school bond issue passed last year.

There hasn’t been this much reconstruction in Vicksburg since … well, Reconstruction.

All of the renovations and construction are causing logistical headaches. The high school teams will be nomads and play their June summer schedules entirely on the road. When slow-pitch season begins in August, the softball teams will likely re-inhabit Halls Ferry Park for a season. They’ll bus across town for practice.

It’s also led to some creative solutions.

The Vicksburg Warren Athletic Association made a proposal to the Warren County Board of Supervisors earlier this week to fix and maintain the old, dilapidated Culkin Complex to use as a practice facility. The work would ostensibly be volunteer labor and come at little to no cost to the county. Deals don’t get much better than that.

Trying to find places to play is, mind you, a good problem to have. Approximately 700 children play in the VWAA and VGSA combined, and there’s probably another hundred or so on the high school teams. Dozens of adults play in softball leagues at the City Park fields each year. That’s a sign of a healthy, active community that hopefully is forming bonds and friendships along the way.

So let’s get out there and play some ball — as long as we can scrounge up a field.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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